Dell’s latest PowerVault NX3000 brings together a nifty combo of PowerEdge server and Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2008. It looks good value and in this review, we see what else it delivers.
Small review of Dell PowerVault nx3230 storage
Even though it was launched mid-2009 we’ve only seen a trickle of network storage appliances supporting Microsoft’s latest Windows Storage Server 2008. Dell’s new PowerVault NX3000 aims to rectify this and brings together Microsoft’s storage software and merges it with a classy PowerEdge server platform.
The hardware for the NX3000 comes courtesy of a PowerEdge R710, which impressed us enough when we reviewed it for it to get a coveted IT PRO Recommended award. Dell offers the NX3000 in three configurations focusing on value, capacity or performance.
On review we have the optimal base unit which comes with a single 2.26GHz quad-core Xeon E5520 partnered by 6GB of DDR3 memory. The value model has 3GB of memory whilst the performance model adds the second processor and has memory boosted to 12GB.
Advantage of Dell PowerVault nx3230 storage
Storage is handled by six 160GB Western Digital SATA hard disks and although the chassis can support them Dell won’t be offering SFF drive options until their price/capacity ratio improves. The drives are fitted in sturdy hot-swap carriers and looked after by a Dell PERC 6/i RAID PCI-e controller.
For general management, you can either use a local monitor, mouse and keyboard or access the appliance remotely over RDP. All storage-related operations are accessed directly from the Server Manager interface which offers a provisioning wizard for setting up network shares, assigning NTFS permissions, sharing over SMB and NFS and defining access restrictions.
You also get all the file screening, quotas and storage report features as standard. These allow you to block files from being copied to the appliance, limit the amount of space users can consume and pull up detailed reports on storage usage.
The Single Instance Storage (SIS) feature delivers data deduplication. Note that Microsoft’s implementation operates only at the file level and not the block level and doesn’t support system and boot volumes, remote drives or files referenced through junction points.
For SIS testing, we created two shared folders on one volume and copied the same 7GB data sample to each one. After an hour of SIS operations, the total amount of used storage on the volume had dropped from 14.3GB down to only 7GB.
IP SAN target creation is wizard-assisted where you select a volume, provide a target name and assign logged in initiators to it. Within the target, you create virtual disks which require an absolute path name for the VHD file and a size. Scheduled virtual disk snapshots provide point in time backups and can also be mounted as new virtual disks.
iSNS services come as standard whilst the Storage Manager for SANs feature provides enhanced LUN management. Microsoft’s distributed file system (DFS) allows you to define folders on multiple servers that contain the same files but appear under a single namespace. This provides share redundancy as if one server fails then clients won’t lose access to their data.
Using an R710 as its hardware platform allows the NX3000 to offer a number of extra features. Storage can be expanded by adding more RAID controllers and using Dell’s M3000 JBODs or it can act as a gateway for the Dell EMC MD3000i appliances.
Video of Dell PowerVault nx3230 storage
WSS2008 may not be as exciting in the features department as we’d hoped but it does offer a big cost advantage over many competing NAS/IP SAN solutions. You don’t need any CALs as the NX3000 supports unlimited users straight from the box making it look good value.
Along with a classy hardware platform, the NX3000 also offers very good expansion potential. Furthermore, administrators familiar with Windows Server 2008 will find it a cinch to configure and manage.
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2016 Standard Edition|
|File access protocols||CIFS, NFS, FTP, SMB3.0, SMB Direct (RDMA)|
|Block access protocols||Microsoft iSCSI target|
|Form factor||2U rack-mount system|
|Processors||Intel® Xeon® E5-2609 v3 1.9GHz, 15M cache, 85W or Intel Xeon E5-2630 v3 2.4GHz, 20M cache, 85W|
|Number of drives||Up to 12 x 3.5” drives for a total of 120TB using 10TB NL-SAS HDDs|
|Drive types and capacities||SATA 7.2K RPM: 2TB, 4TB NL-SAS 7.2K RPM: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB SAS 10K RPM: 600GB, 1.2TB SAS 15K RPM: 600GB|
|External expansion||PowerVault™, PS Series and SC Series controllers and arrays|
|RAID||Standard options: OS HDDs (on rear 2.5” HDDs) is always RAID1. Data HDDs can be configured from factory in RAID5 or RAID6 (minimum 4 HDDs). The internal PERC can support additional customer configurable RAID options. Custom options: As supported by internal PERC H730 (0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60) Controller: PERC H730 (internal HDDs)|
|Chassis dimensions||H: 8.73 cm (3.44 in.) x W: 44.40 cm (17.49 in.) x D (excludes bezel): 68.40 cm (26.92 in.) Maximum weight: 27.6 kg (60.84 lb)|
|Power||Redundant and non-redundant hot-plug 750W and 1100W PSU options|
|Fans||Standard redundant cooling|
|Availability||Hot-plug hard drives, hot-plug redundant power, hot-plug redundant cooling, ECC memory|
|Management||Dell OpenManage™ featuring Dell Management Console or Windows Server Management interface iDRAC8 Express or Enterprise|
|Data protection features||Replication (DFS-R), Snapshots (VSS)|
|Rack support||ReadyRails™ II sliding rails for tool-less mounting in 4-post racks with square or unthreaded round holes or tooled mounting in 4-post threaded hole racks, with support for optional toolless cable management arm|
|Slots||Six PCIe 3.0 slots (four with x16 bandwidth and two with x8 bandwidth|